News Release for August 31, 2011

For more Information:
Paul Merrill, Public Information Officer - 207-624-3355 or 207-215-9297


Route 27 Temporary Bridges Expected To Open On Tuesday, September 6

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine – The Maine Department of Transportation, and its contractor, Reed & Reed, Inc., began construction today on installing two temporary bridges on Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley that are expected to open on Tuesday, September 6.

“MaineDOT and Reed and Reed are focusing their efforts on working through the holiday in order to restore traffic as quickly as possible,” said MaineDOT’s Joyce Taylor, who is overseeing the reconstruction process.

MaineDOT has worked with the Governor’s office, Federal Highway Administration officials, local and state officials, and area businesses in order to restore traffic as soon as possible on Route 27.

“Getting the Route 27 corridor back in action is essential to Maine’s economic relationship with Canada, as well as the Western Maine tourism industry and the way of life for area residents,” said Governor LePage. “My administration will be doing everything we can to get this important road back open safely and cost-effectively.”

MaineDOT selected Reed & Reed yesterday after interviews with five construction companies. Reed & Reed was selected due to their expertise, its commitment to install temporary bridges quickly and safely, and their specific approach to this project.

Under normal circumstances, MaineDOT would go through a lengthy advertising and bidding process to select a contractor, but due to the emergency nature of the situation, Governor Paul LePage authorized MaineDOT to utilize an innovative and accelerated contracting method.

Within 24 hours of the bridges washing out, MaineDOT had designed an expedited process, briefed the Governor, and then started interviewing five pre-qualified construction companies. All five companies had worked with MaineDOT before, and all possessed the engineering capability, equipment, and components to perform the necessary work.

The Sugarloaf Access road was effectively isolated by the bridge washouts Sunday night. Since then, MaineDOT partnered with local officials, area businesses and residents to post detours, improve signage, and restore connections to businesses and residences impacted by the Route 27 floods.

MaineDOT worked with Sugarloaf to restore access to the resort and associated businesses through a series of private roads. Sugarloaf had also installed a temporary pedestrian bridge over the south branch of the Carrabassett River so employees travelling to work from the north could get to the access road. Today, MaineDOT is providing a 100-foot aluminum pedestrian bridge which is being installed and expected to open tomorrow morning.

In addition to installing the two temporary bridges, Reed and Reed will assist MaineDOT in the design of the two permanent bridge replacements. MaineDOT expects that those bridges will be completed by November 18, 2011, subject to price negotiation. It is anticipated that Reed and Reed will be performing the permanent bridge work as well. This should ensure normal traffic patterns for those traveling to the western mountains and the resort area during the winter season.

According to the National Weather Service, on Sunday night, tropical storm Irene dumped in excess of 8.5 inches of rain in the area. The torrential rain in the mountain basin area overflowed rivers and brooks, and washed out two bridges within 300 yards of each other.

The North Branch Bridge, built in 1958, and the Brackett Brook Bridge, built in 1999, both collapsed within minutes of each other when water overflowed the roadway and eroded the road and supports around the bridges.

Reed and Reed, Inc. is located in Woolwich, Maine. Due to the nature of the accelerated contracting method, MaineDOT is currently negotiating with Reed and Reed concerning the cost of the expected work.